“The vast majority of content produced on the internet remains unread, unwatched, unseen, and unheard.” So writes adman Young in this richly illustrated, well-argued manual on how to get the word out.
The 1980s-era bible of the ad industry, Ogilvy on Advertising, writes current Ogilvy & Mather chairman Young, was “a most elegant rant against what [founder David Ogilvy] believed to be a legion of misconceptions about our business,” as well as a primer, if sometimes dogmatic, of how that business works. Young’s book picks up for the new age, with its attention to media that behave in the same way crack does: “instant hits are everything—and it is addictive.” The author sometimes turns to the gimmicky, as with a “content matrix” with aspirational terms such as “magnetic” and “immersive” to describe a subject—content, that is—that the original Ogilvy would have mistrusted. Of great interest to global trend-watchers, though, is the abundance of material Young pulls from the Asian and European markets, such as a brand-building campaign for Nescafé, which may now be the best-known coffee firm in the world. Yet, he adds, global markets are less important in some aspects than saturating local ones, since research indicates that consumers prefer local brands to international ones by a wide margin, though they may continue to buy both. Of interest to anyone seeking to understand how advertisers seek to capture hearts and minds are Young’s concluding predictions for the near-term future: politicians will always lie in political advertising; “the Indian ad market will be the most attractive in the world”; and virtual reality will introduce interesting multimedia possibilities but will not rule the planet. Creative-writing majors wondering how to retire their student loans may take heart, too, in the author’s assurances that “top-notch writing skills will carry a huge premium as they decrease in supply.”
A new bible for a new generation of pitchmen and -women. Young’s treatise makes a fine modern marketing 101 textbook—and at far below textbook prices, too.